Australia’s dollar tumbled from near a one-week high after a report today showed the nation’s full-time employment dropped by the most in more than a year.
The Aussie weakened versus all of its 16 major counterparts. The yield on government debt due in a decade fell, set to halt an a five-day advance that sent it yesterday to the highest level in three weeks following the Reserve Bank’s Nov. 5 decision to hold borrowing costs. New Zealand’s currency slid for the first time in a week as Asian stocks declined.
Today’s jobs data had “weak details,” said Sue Trinh, a senior currency strategist at Royal Bank of Canada in Hong Kong. The currency’s outlook “will be a little bit more nuanced. The data that we had of late have been mixed enough to keep the RBA pretty much on the sidelines at least into the second quarter of next year.” RBC predicts an interest-rate cut in the three months through June 2014, Trinh said.
The Australian dollar dropped 0.5 percent to 94.8 U.S. cents as of 4:45 p.m. in Sydney after touching 95.43 yesterday, the highest since Oct. 29. The 10-year yield slid five basis points to 4.16 percent after peaking at 4.22 percent yesterday, a level unseen since Oct. 16.
New Zealand’s currency lost 0.1 percent to 83.7 U.S. cents from 83.77 yesterday, when it completed a 1.4 percent, four-day gain. The nation’s two-year swap rate, a fixed payment made to receive floating rates, declined two basis points to 3.51 percent. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index of shares fell 0.5 percent.
Australian employers cut 27,900 full-time positions last month, the biggest drop since June 2012, the statistics bureau said in Sydney today. The jobless rate held at 5.7 percent.
“The unemployment rate has edged higher,” RBA Governor Glenn Stevens said this week after he and his board kept the benchmark at a record-low 2.5 percent. “This is likely to persist in the near term, as the economy adjusts to lower levels of mining investment.”
Swaps traders see Australian policy makers raising the cash rate by 15 basis points over the next year, a Credit Suisse Group AG index shows, down from a 2 1/2-year high of 22 basis points yesterday.
“Today’s jobs figures are largely consistent with the RBA’s view on near term labour market outcomes,” Gareth Aird, an economist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, wrote in an e-mailed note to clients. “We retain our previously held view that 2.5 percent is likely to be the low point of the current easing cycle.”